medlit - Medieval Romances • The Crusades inspired...

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Unformatted text preview: Medieval Romances • The Crusades inspired writing that was a mix of history, Christianity and fiction •the most popular form of this style of writing between 1200 and 1500 were adventure stories called medieval romances •so popular that they were written in the vernacular (common language) rather than Latin Medieval Literature 2 Medieval Romance Was Arthur real? Marriages among the nobility generally were alliances formed to secure land • story may have originated from Celtic folklore in Wales • he may have been a Celtic leader named Artorius in 5th c. BCE • some marriages were arranged while the couple in question were still infants • as a result, romantic love was more likely to flourish outside marriage he may have been invented by the writer Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th c. BCE • • Lancelot • 12th century romance written in French by Chrétien de Troyes therefore, medieval romances were so popular because they often featured a forbidden relationship • belongs to Arthurian cycle of stories • 3 involves an adulterous affair between Lancelot and Guinevere, wife of King Arthur • stories like this helped develop the idea of courtly love • 4 Courtly Love l’amour courtois —Why is this book/movie so popular? • Arthurian legends helped develop the idea of “courtly love” • —Who is the main audience? cultivated in medieval royal courts —Who was the main audience for the medieval romances? a knight generally longed for an unattainable woman • he had to prove his love for her through heroic deeds, even if it resulted in his death • Courtly love was • aristocratic this code suggested that suffering for love made one pure and noble • ritualistic • these ideas formed the basis of • secret • outside marriage • inspired by literature • Eleanor of Aquitaine queen consort of both Louis VII of France and, later. Henry II of England popular ideas about love in Western literature and life for example... 5 A medieval romance is usually characterized by the following: 1. emphasis on chivalry 2. a hero/knight and his noble deeds 3. his love for an idealized lady who holds great power over him 4. mystery, suspense, supernatural elements 5. a great challenge for the knight 6 The Canterbury Tales •Geoffrey Chaucer is the first great poet of England—some think he was the first to legitimize English as an artistic language, as opposed to French or Latin. • He began the Canterbury Tales around 1387. • A frame story sets the stage for a group of smaller stories Who do you think these idealized women are modeled after? •Chaucer’s frame story: a group of pilgrims journeying from London to visit the shrine of the martyr Thomas Becket at Canterbury. • To The Cult of the Virgin Mary was inspired by the writings of Bernard of Clairvaux. Mary was born sinless, gave birth to the Son of God, and was seen as the intermediary between God and man. Respect given to her raised the status of women at this time. Before this, women were seen as the instruments of evil, due to what famous female? 7 pass the time on their trip, the 31 pilgrims (including Chaucer) are introduced in the Prologue and then engage in a storytelling contest •Why would Chaucer choose to create a frame story? 8 •The Canterbury Tales gives us a good look at what life was like in the late Middle Ages. Chaucer creates a representation of the world he lived in. Characters include: • the Knight • the Miller • the Cook • the Wife of Bath • the Friar • the Merchant • the Shipman • the Squire • the Nun • the Monk • the Physician Purpose of using a variety character types • provides snapshot of everyday life •gives characters a recognizable starting point from which they may (or may not) evolve allows author to critique human weaknesses as well as highlight noble traits • allows reader to think about his/her relation to others • allows author to address a variety of subjects • These characters are “types” but also have individual personalities. This allows Chaucer to critique English society and the Church. 9 Side note... According to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, our subconscious recognizes certain “archetypes”...like the “mother” figure 10 • The Knight—brave man who never boasts. He loves truth and freedom and serves his king well. His story discusses many knightly concerns, including courtly love. • The Wife of Bath—she’s been married 5 times, enjoys the company of others, and likes to laugh—is the story antifeminist, or does she point out that men are the ones who create these stories? Hmm.... This video is called the Knight’s Tale but it’s actually Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale • The Merchant—a member of the wealthy middle class, the merchant is respected, yet few know he is deeply in debt and married to a woman who makes him miserable 1. What do you think the Merchant’s marriage is like? (Remember, the story always reveals something about the storyteller.) 2. And why do certain things happen in a garden? The stories the pilgrims te" genera"y fit their characters, for instance... 3. And why, of all ancient gods, Pluto and Proserpina? 11 12 Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) native of Florence, Italy combined career in politics with the life of an intellectual • • when his political allies fell from office, he was exiled from Florence • poor and wandering, he composed the epic poem The Divine Comedy, considered the greatest literary work written in Italian • Virgil can only travel as far as Purgatory...why? • Dante In 1373, the first public lectures on The Divine Comedy were given—meaning Dante was the first modern poet whose work was studied along with ancient classics in a university course. wanted to reach everyone, and so he used Italian rather than Latin. This poem made Italian the literary language in Europe for many years The Divine Comedy • Dante is both author and main character who visits Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. • led first by the ghost of Virgil (why Virgil?) Dante descends into Hell, where the damned describe their crimes and Dante sees their punishments • Virgil then leads Dante into Purgatory, where lesser sinners atone for their crimes and wait to enter heaven the poem reflects Dante’s fears as a sinner and his hope for salvation a Florentine woman named Beatrice (who represents wisdom) guides Dante into the final realm of the afterlife: Paradise • • Dante’s vision of the afterlife emphasizes his belief that humans have free will. 13 • Virgil (70BC-19 CE) is the Roman poet who wrote the Aeneid Dante loved Beatrice Portinari from the moment he saw her. 14 This is a very personal poem for Dante • exile • loss • charity “You shall leave everything you love the most. This is the arrow the bow of exile will shoot first. Bitter is the taste of another man’s bread and . . . heavy the way up and down another man’s stair.” Cacciaguida, Paradiso • • Portrait of Dante Alighieri Ilya Repin (1844-1930) fears of a Medieval Christian desire to reconcile opposing ideas 15 Allegory a story that deals in symbols which gives it a second layer of meaning in addition to the literal meaning. This is a way to represent abstract ideas or principles through characters and events in a story. 16 The Inferno (the first book) Dante assigns sinners to 9 circles of Hell where they are punished according to the nature of their sins • The Divine Comedy as allegory •The most severe punishments are reserved for the residents of the lower depths of Hell. in the last canto*, Dante describes the ninth circle of Hell, the bottom of the pit, where Satan dwells with the worst sinners • 1. main story: a journey through the realms of the afterlife The poem also te"s the story of —Dante’s exile from Florence and ultimate triumph —the nature of justice (as seen in the sinner’s punishments) and free will —the search for God; salvation —taking the difficult path—which brings....what? T. S. Eliot said of Dante and Shakespeare: “[They] divide the modern world between them. There is no third.” • Dante, too, feels he is a sinner canto* —one of the main divisions of a long poem 17 1. Midway upon the course of this our life I found myself within a gloomy wood For I had wandered from the path direct ... 7. How I came to be there I cannot say for sure I was so deeply bound by sleep As I departed from the path of truth. 18 Why did he call it a “comedy?” Why does the Divine Comedy begin in Hell? Canto I, Inferno 1. recognition The Inferno on a universal level 2. values • everyone faces evil and fears death and whatever may come after • and there comes a time in everyone’s life when we ask “how did I get here?” 3. waking up 19 * 20 Vestibule— 1st Circle—Limbo— Circles 2-5— Circle 6— Circle 7— Circle 8— Circle 9— 21 23 22 24 “I don’t think anyone has ever written a book that is about more essential things. It’s a book about living a life— The fact that a life must end The fact that a life takes many petty turns The fact that a life also exists in the context of eternity on either side. No one has ever written more eloquently, or directly about such things.” Robert Pinsky, poet, literary critic, and United States Poet Laureate, 1997-2000 Lucifer, King of He" Gustave Doré 25 26 ...
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2011 for the course HUM 101 taught by Professor Neubeck-connor during the Spring '11 term at Moraine Valley Community College.

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